Big Man on the Line, Martin Coleman, Artist
SCPlaybook Interviews Offensive Lineman Martin Coleman.
Coach Pat Ruel kept the offensive line on the field for a long time after practice, going over the day’s work. In Pete Carroll lexicon, this would be known as a ‘Teaching Moment.’ The offensive line had just given up several sacks during practice.
At 6'5" and 320 lbs. Coleman is a force on the offensive line, but there is another side to him, he is also a gifted artist. At a recent USC Athletics Art Show, “Artletics,” Coleman’s work was displayed along with other student-athlete artists from the university. Clay de Leon caught up with Martin Coleman to discuss his thoughts on spring practice and his experience at USC.
(After a rough day when the offensive line gave up multiple sacks)…You had a pretty rough day today huh?
“Ahhh…(laughter), pretty rough…”
What did coach tell you?
“He just told us to work on our footwork, we’re just a little rusty. So we’re just trying to boost up our performance.”
What do you think happened? There were a lot of sacks today.
“Oh…you know, it’s just…it’s normal. Going through regular practice, the defense did well today. I guess we’re just a little tired today.”
Where are you at in the rotation?
“I’m not sure yet, but if I get to play at either position, I’ll be glad to play. Right now I play both guard and tackle, on the right side of the line (it’s still being ‘contested’ on the right side of the line).”
Shifting gears here, how did your art show go?
“Ah, it went pretty good, (more laughter), pretty good! I did not expect that to happen. It just came out of nowhere.”
Did anyone on the team give you a ‘hard time’ about it?
“They don’t know yet, shhhhh…(smile). Don’t say anything (more laughter).”
I’ve read where you did a portrait of a woman, was it your girlfriend?
“Ah, no, no, just one of them (laughter), just kidding, she just looks like one of my friends back in Tonga, looks exactly like her, so I just drew her, (more laughter). It’s called ‘Ta’ahine,’ it translates to girl, beautiful girl.”
Oh, so you are Tongan and you went to school in Huntington Beach, how did that happen?
“I came from Tonga about three years ago, I went with my dad to Hawaii, he had heart surgery there, so he told me to stay here and go to school. So I came here to live with my sister and brother-in-law in Huntington Beach.”
“When I was walking around school, Coach Dave White saw me and said, wow, you’re pretty big, and he asked me if I wanted to play football, and I said ‘sure’. I never knew about the game, I never played, but I played rugby (in Tonga) since I was eight years old.”
So, is your dad back home now? Do you miss Tonga?
“My whole family is back home, but my sister is here. Yeah, I miss that, I really want to go back home sometimes, to go and visit, to see how they are doing, but with all the football, I doubt that there’s going to be a time that I can go.”
What is your personal goal for this spring and summer?
“My goal is like everyone else’s goal, and that’s to get a starting position. That’s basically my number one goal right now. I’m working on my footwork, getting my plays in and knowing everything that’s going on.”
“In the summer, just continue to work on conditioning, stay in shape.”
What is your thought on how the offensive line will do this fall?
“I think we’re going to do pretty well. Even though we lost a lot of guys on the line, they set a good example for us. We’re following their example.”
Links to some of Martin Coleman's artwork:
All Things Trojan, Adam Rose
OC Register, Jeff Miller